The 15 Minute Solution

Yard Work Yard Work entailed cutting grass, trimming hedges, cleaning up garbage thrown by passing cars and pedestrians, and anything else my dad could dream up. To try and lighten the load, dad would always unload this nugget of wisdom on me:
“If you do 15 minutes of yard work everyday, then you won’t have near as much to do come Saturday.” I never listened, I had too much to do during the week, playing ball with friends, bike riding, I could always find an excuse not to do 15 minutes of yard work. Then, come Saturday, I would howl about being trapped for the morning and often part of the afternoon doing things I could have done during the week. We can easily apply this to taking over an existing organization. The temptation is to jump in and prove that you know better than everyone else. Start barking out orders, making changes, and whip the group into shape. After all isn’t that your job? Well, no. Your job is to get obstacles out of the way. To do that sometimes you need to push. To push, we need to convince people this is in their own best interests. You need to develop trust and rapport so that they will listen to you when you try to communicate (not TELL) why something is in a group’s best interest. You need to observe first. See what is going on. Try and understand why things have evolved the way they have. Then start making small improvements and changes. Don’t threaten people with wholesale change, ease them into it. Do the 15 minute changes, which over time will become part of the culture. Save the big push for later, when you have a base to work from, when you have the support of the group. Some of the smallest changes can reap big changes in process and attitude. Don’t spend a week or a month planning a set of changes or new processes, and then dump it in your staff’s lap at a Friday morning staff meeting and expect it to be implemented in the next 4 hours. Make the easy changes first, and make them gradual. You’ll find you have less to do come that Friday morning staff meeting.]]>

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